For most aspiring authors, the journey from first to final draft can be a challenging one. The process stirs up many questions, especially for those working on their first book.
Does my book, specifically the quality of writing, measure up to a professional standard?
Will this story resonate with fans of my genre?
I’ve looked it over a hundred times – am I missing something?
I field these questions all the time and have pretty much the same response to each one. That’s a valid concern. Until an author truly finds their groove, they are bound to encounter insecurity.
I can’t honestly tell you that developmental editing services will answer every lingering question you have. As a professional editor and author, I can tell you, doubt always exists.
But if you want to publish that book with confidence, knowing that it will measure up, resonate with fans, then you definitely want a developmental editor in your corner.
Why Developmental Editing Services Matter
Why do developmental editing services matter so much for your book’s success? Let’s first answer that by discussing your story’s overall structure.
More often than not, when we talk about the quality of a person’s writing, we’re talking about the overall structure. Does the story, as it’s presented, unfold and evolve in a way that is satisfying to most readers? There are time tested, classic storytelling structures that many readers expect.
Is your book meeting those expectations?
A professional developmental editor can help you transform your first draft to ensure that it conforms to those structures. Identifying where your book moves too fast (or, in most cases, too slow) makes a world of difference when it comes to reaching those readers.
People put books down all the time – don’t let that be yours.
The second place I see developmental editing services being absolutely vital is the development of the story’s characters. If your book has a heart, it almost certainly resides in the main character and your reader’s growing relationship to them.
Over my many years as a professional editor, I have worked with countless authors. In almost every case the version of that character in the first draft needs some attention before he or she (or it, in some cases) can realistically resonate with readers.
Is your character strong enough to keep the reader’s interest?
Does your main character take charge of a scene?
Or, does your hero come off as passive when really they need to seize the moment?
Some authors can pick these flaws out on their own. To do that effectively takes insight and a heck of a lot of writing experience though. Most often, to fully round a character into shape takes a developmental editor, especially when it comes to helping you strategize a way to remedy the situation.
Does Genre Matter? (Answer: Yes)
The last place I see developmental editing services offering their greatest benefit is in genre. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at reader behavior and I can tell you one thing: readers choose the books they read based on their expectations.
If it’s a science-fiction book, they expect to be shown a magnificent world beyond their imagination.
Writing a mystery? Without compelling characters and devilish twists, you’re going nowhere.
Are you writing fantasy? Then you’d better have a compelling monster or magic system embedded somewhere in the story, otherwise readers move onto the next one.
I advise all authors to read widely within their genre. Know what the bestselling books are like. Even if this is something you’ve done already, however, bringing a second set of eyes in, those of an expert, is a critical step.
Why Not Do It Yourself?
Knowing what works when it comes to writing can be a real challenge. That challenge becomes double when it comes to working with our own writing.
What does that mean?
In order to really assess the quality of a work of fiction, non-fiction or memoir, a writer needs to introduce that element of objectivity. In my experience, when it comes to looking at our own writing, the required level of objectivity isn’t realistic. We’re too close to our own writing to see it for what it is.
I’ll let you in on a secret. As an author, I worked hard on my first novel. I’m talking really hard. I exerted a lot of energy trying to self-edit that book, going through it over and over, trying to diagnose the issues in my own fiction. Again and again, draft after draft, it simply didn’t work.
Then I brought in developmental editing services and you know what happened next? With that person’s expertise, I was able to unlock that manuscript’s potential, and consequently, delivered a book that has garnered a lot of praise from readers.
That’s right. Even a professional developmental editor and author needs an editor for their book.
You’ve already gone through the work of writing the first draft of your manuscript. If you really want to take it to the next level and publish a memorable book that readers will identify with, a developmental editing service is the right next step for you.
I hope this blog addressed some of your questions about developmental editing services. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below.
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